The Joker, Captain America, Hannibal Lecter and Darth Vader all have something in common: They are iconic movie characters whose costumes are frequently seen walking the sidewalks on Halloween. Unless you have the correct year, make and model, it can be fairly difficult to dress up your vehicle as a movie character, but cars are just as prominent in film as the actors themselves, and these 10 iconic movie cars in costume fit the bill.
Animal House’s Deathmobile – 1964 Lincoln Continental: In the 1978 National Lampoon’s film, “Animal House,” the “Deathmobile” began as a beautiful Lincoln Continental, but near the end of the movie, the car was cleverly disguised as parade float by the Deltas, a troublemaking fraternity with low academic standing. The Delta’s Deathmobile sabotages the homecoming parade in an attempt to get even with Dean Vernon Wormer after he put the entire Delta fraternity on probation.
Dumb and Dumber’s Mutt Cutts Van – 1984 Ford Econoline: Harry Dunne, Lloyd’s friend and roommate, is in the pet grooming business and recently spent his life savings converting his 1984 Ford Econoline van into a sheepdog. Lloyd calls it the “shaggin' wagon,” but we doubt there's much of that going on. Lloyd, a simple-minded limousine driver, drops off Mary Swanson, “the woman of his dreams,” at the airport. Mary leaves a briefcase behind as ransom money for her husband’s return, but an unwitting Lloyd takes the briefcase. Harry and Lloyd both lose their jobs due to entirely preventable situations, so they decide to take the “shaggin’ wagon” on a road trip to hunt down Mary and reunite her with the briefcase.
Ghostbusters’ Ecto-1 – 1959 Cadillac Miller Meteor Ambulance: In the iconic 1984 film, “Ghostbusters,” Ecto-1 is as much of a character as the actors themselves, except the actors only wish they could age as well as a Cadillac. Bill Murray, Dan Aykroyd and Harold Ramis play three eccentric parapsychologists who start a ghost-catching business, with the Cadillac serving as the company car. The 1959 Miller Meteor is a rare car with only approximately 25 produced. From this number, two were transformed into Ecto-1 for the film, and additional replica cars were built by Universal Studios for touring, theme park use and exhibition.
The Green Hornet’s Black Beauty – 1966 Chrysler Imperial: It all began in 1936 as a popular series of radio dramas; then from 1966-1967, it was aired as a TV series; and in 2011, as a movie starring Seth Rogen and Cameron Diaz. In the 2011 film, Britt, a 28-year-old slacker, and Kato, a hired mechanic, aspire to become crime-fighters who pose as criminals. For this purpose, Kato designs a car that is prepared for the job— the “Black Beauty.” With machine guns, rocket launchers, a flame thrower, retractable spikes and reinforced steel armor, the Green Hornet's 1966 Chrysler Imperial was a beauty, indeed. It was one aggressive machine that just so happened to sound great, too, thanks to a powerful supercharged 4.5-liter V-8 engine.
Batman Returns – The Duck Car: We are all familiar with the different versions of the Batmobile that appeared onscreen throughout the “Batman” franchise, but there is just something about a penguin riding in a gigantic yellow amphibious duck that deserves some attention. There’s an obvious connection between the vehicle and its owner, and the pair look quite ridiculous traveling through Gotham City’s narrow water channels. If you were to watch a scene with the duck car without any knowledge of the “Batman” series, you’d surely think it was an idea that came fresh out of the loony-bin.
Chitty Chitty Bang Bang – The Magical Car: This classic 1968 musical film takes place in the 1910s, and the story opens with a jumble of European Grand Prix races in which one car wins every race before its career comes to an end after swerving, crashing and catching fire to avoid a girl rescuing a dog. Caractacus Potts, an eccentric inventor, aims to purchase the totaled vehicle and rebuild it as one of his whimsical inventions, later to be named “Chitty Chitty Bang Bang,” in honor of the sound the engine makes. The car’s innovations include floatation devices that transform it into a power boat along with wings and propellers for flight. Six vehicles were produced for the movie, and five were used as props in various scenes. Only one was a fully functioning car registered for road use in the United Kingdom.
Mad Max’s Interceptor – 1973 Ford XB Falcon GT351: This 1979 movie takes place in an oppressive future version of Australia where energy shortages run rampant and law and order dips into borderline chaos. A motorcycle gang causes bedlam by vandalizing property, stealing fuel and terrorizing townspeople. After his son is killed as a result of the gang’s nonsense, an enraged Mad Max takes his black Pursuit Special, the Ford XB Falcon, to get even. With a Weiand 6-71 supercharger bulging through the hood, and a 351 Cleveland engine paired with a 4-speed manual transmission, nothing is going to stop Mad Max. In a later movie, the interior is stripped and two large spare gas tanks are added to the back, giving the car a stressed and rugged postwar look.
Munsters’ Drag U La – 1966 Coffin Car: The Munster movies began in 1966, when the Munster family heads to England to claim Munster Hall after a relative’s passing. Of course, you can’t have a Munster family without the classic Coffin Car named Drag U La — one of grandpa Munster’s mad creations. The vehicle was built from a real fiberglass coffin and featured a 350-hp Ford Mustang V-8 engine mated to a four-speed manual transmission. Two four-barrel carburetors were mounted on a Mickey Thompson Ram-Thrust manifold. The Firestone racing slicks mounted on the back with custom wheels meant business, and the tombstone grille, organ pipe exhaust and spider headlights were to die for.
Good Burger’s Burgermobile – 1976 AMC Pacer: It’s the only AMC pacer to have giant french fries for wiper blades, plus a fully loaded burger mounted to the front clip, pickles for hubcaps and one monster of a ketchup bottle sticking out of the back hatch. Someone surely was hungry when designing this movie car, and it fits its role perfectly in this 1997 American comedy film about two rivaling Burger joints.
Back to the Future’s Time Machine – 1981 DeLorean DMC-12: If you thought you would get away without having to read another call-out to the iconic 1981 DeLorean time machine, think again! The 1985 American comic science-fiction film, “Back to the Future,” may be exactly what made these cars so well known, but this car isn’t a normal DeLorean. The DMC-12 sports car had the ability to time travel once it reached exactly 88 mph. During a test run, Marty McFly asks Doc, the creator of the time machine, why he used a Delorean. Doc replied that not only did the stainless steel construction help with temporal displacement, but the car needed style —and a timeless style is exactly what the DeLorean has.